Swine flu claims first victim this winter

Austria has its first swine flu fatality of this year.A 24-year-old German holidaymaker who passed away from the H1N1 virus in Saalbach Hinterglemm, Salzburg, on New Year’s Day is the first person to perish from the disease on Austrian soil this winter.A spokesman for medical authorities in the province announced yesterday evening (Weds) an autopsy confirmed that the man died after having contracted the virus. The official said the tourist was already sick when he arrived at the skiing resort. He added three relatives who accompanied the man on the skiing trip, staff and other guests at the hotel he stayed at have been warned they may have caught the disease too.Around 40 people died from H1N1 in the previous winter season. The precise number of deaths cannot be estimated since not every person who died from a flu virus was examined in an autopsy. Some of those who may have passed away from swine flu could have caught the similarly dangerous influenza virus.Germany registered two swine flu deaths so far this winter. The country, which borders Austria, has recorded more than 250 cases of people dying from H1N1 since the virus was discovered in Mexico in April 2009.More than 10,000 people around the world have died from the disease as of December 2009, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).British authorities reported a significant rise of swine flu victims last month. At least 39 people died from the disease in the United Kingdom since October.London dailies report today that the British government admitted there was a shortage of swine flu vaccines in some areas of the country. Suppliers have been asked to provide physicians and hospitals with more vaccines from overseas, according to the Guardian newspaper.